The Lord Raised Up an Adversary
Solomon began his reign so well with the construction of the Temple and the King’s Palace. God blessed him with the same covenant He had with David.
1 Kings 9:4-9 (ESV) if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, 5 then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ 6 But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 8 And this house will become a heap of ruins. Everyone passing by it will be astonished and will hiss, and they will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ 9 Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD their God who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore the LORD has brought all this disaster on them.'”
God’s blessing on Solomon was evident for all the world to see. Solomon’s wealth and wisdom was greater than all the kings on earth. (10:23). God gave him peace and security on every side of his kingdom. But Solomon’s time of peace and security becomes for him an opportunity to sin against God. It is at these times we can let our spiritual guard down and our weaknesses take control over our lives.
Solomon’s weakness was foreign women. (11:1) God had specifically forbidden His people from intermarrying with foreign women. This was not racism, but due to their worship of foreign gods (ie. Ruth was a Moabitess who worshipped God). Solomon’s desire for foreign women led him to seek the satisfy them by building temples for their false gods. They turned his heart away from the Lord.
Many Christians have no framework to understand God’s response to Solomon. Chapter 11:9ff center around one statement: “And the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon.” Where he had known peace and prosperity early in his reign, his latter reign is marked by insecurity and the seeds of one of the greatest collapses of a nation in recorded history.
What should the Christian take from this? First, know that God is serious about your holiness. He is serious enough to afflict you if necessary to get you to turn back to Him. Second, don’t assume that the source of your adversity is Satan. It may be God. When you face trials at the hands of others, it may be the hand of the Lord chastening you from your sin. Consider your ways. Repent. Turn again to the Lord. Finally, even when God raises an adversary against you, know that this is not evidence of his rejection, but His love. God’s declaration to Jereboam: “I will afflict the offspring of David because of this, but not forever.”